6th Plenum Spirit - Xi's APEC Speech - Cadres Should Pursue 无我 - Pan Dongsheng, an Exemplar - Liu Jianchao on Taiwan & Rules-based Order

Here are the stories and pieces from the November 15, 2021, edition of the People’s Daily that I found noteworthy.

Page 1: Let’s begin with a commentary on studying and implementing the spirit of the 6th Plenum. The piece begins by briefly talking about the importance of the history resolution, arguing that summing up history is important for the Party to enhance its capabilities, ability to respond to risks, meet challenges, and avert danger. It then lists the 10 lessons from history that the communique had highlighted:

  • upholding the Party’s leadership, 

  • putting the people first, 

  • advancing theoretical innovation, 

  • staying independent, 

  • following the Chinese path, 

  • maintaining a global vision, 

  • breaking new ground, 

  • standing up for ourselves, 

  • promoting the united front, 

  • remaining committed to self-reform

These “are a complete and coherent organic whole, which profoundly reveal the fundamental guarantee for the continuous success of the cause of the Party and the people; a source of strength for the Party to remain invincible; the fundamental reason for the Party to always grasp the historical initiative; and the fundamental path for the Party to maintain its advanced nature and purity and always stay ahead of the times.” In this sense, they are of great historical significance and lend important practical guidance. 这十条历史经验是系统完整、相互贯通的有机整体,深刻揭示了党和人民事业不断成功的根本保证,深刻揭示了党始终立于不败之地的力量源泉,深刻揭示了党始终掌握历史主动的根本原因,深刻揭示了党永葆先进性和纯洁性、始终走在时代前列的根本途径,具有重大的历史意义和现实指导意义.

The next paragraph expands on these 10 points:

  • History and reality demonstrate that the Party is the core force leading our cause. It is the Party’s leadership that allowed the “Chinese people and Chinese nation to overturn/alter China’s destiny in modern times and achieve today’s great achievements.” 历史和现实充分表明,中国共产党是领导我们事业的核心力量,中国人民和中华民族之所以能够扭转近代以后的历史命运、取得今天的伟大成就,最根本的是有中国共产党的坚强领导

  • People are the lifeblood of the Party and its greatest strength

  • Marxism is the guiding ideology; it is not dogma but an action guide. It must develop with practice, and it must be Sinicized and localized in order to take root in the hearts of people.

  • Independence is “the soul of the Chinese national spirit and an important principle” of the Party.

  • Path determines destiny; so stick to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics to achieve national rejuvenation. 

  • The Party has “correctly understood and handled its relations with the outside world from the perspective of the tide of human development, the changing landscape of the world, and the grand history of China's development, and is on the right side of history and human progress.” 大道之行,天下为公,党始终以世界眼光关注人类前途命运,从人类发展大潮流、世界变化大格局、中国发展大历史正确认识和处理同外部世界的关系,站在历史正确的一边,站在人类进步的一边.

  • “The greater a cause, the more it is fraught with difficulties and obstacles, and the more arduous the efforts that are required.” So, it is important to keep innovating in theory, practice, system, culture, etc.

  • “The courage to struggle and win is the invincible and strong spiritual force that drives the Party and the people. All the achievements of the Party and the people neither fell from the skies nor were they gifted by others, but they were won through constant struggle.” 敢于斗争、敢于胜利,是党和人民不可战胜的强大精神力量,党和人民取得的一切成就,不是天上掉下来的,不是别人恩赐的,而是通过不断斗争取得的.

  • Unity is strength; a broad united front is a “magic weapon.”

  • The courage to carry out self-revolution is what distinguishes the CPC from other political parties, and the spirit of self-revolution is a strong support for the Party’s to maintain its youth and vitality forever.

So these 10 learnings must be “cherished and adhered.” Also, they must be “constantly enriched and developed through practice in the new era.”

The next paragraph talks about what it means to apply these principles. I am only pointing out the ones I deemed significant.

  • It is important to ensure that support for “the overall leadership of the Party does not waver;” to “resolutely safeguard the core of the Party and the authority of the Party Central Committee;” and “put the Party’s leadership into practice across all fields and links of Party and state undertakings.”

  • It talks about working for and with the people, and then says that if the Party “unswervingly pursues common prosperity for all, it will be able to lead the people in winning new and greater victories for socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Doing so will ensure that “any attempt to separate the CPC from the Chinese people or create antagonism will never succeed.” 坚定不移走全体人民共同富裕道路,就一定能够领导人民夺取中国特色社会主义新的更大胜利,任何想把中国共产党同中国人民分割开来、对立起来的企图就永远不会得逞.

  • It talks about being brave and engaging in theoretical innovation. As long as we insist on independence and self-reliance, learn from the useful experience of foreign countries modestly, and strengthen national self-esteem and self-confidence, we will be able to firmly grasp the fate of China’s development and progress in our own hands. As long as we do not take the closed and rigid old road, do not take the evil road of changing our banner, and unswervingly follow the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, we will certainly be able to build our country into a strong, prosperous, democratic, civilised, harmonious and beautiful socialist modernisation power. 只要我们勇于结合新的实践不断推进理论创新、善于用新的理论指导新的实践,就一定能够让马克思主义在中国大地上展现出更强大、更有说服力的真理力量;只要我们坚持独立自主、自力更生,既虚心学习借鉴国外的有益经验,又坚定民族自尊心和自信心,不信邪、不怕压,就一定能够把中国发展进步的命运始终牢牢掌握在自己手中;只要我们既不走封闭僵化的老路,也不走改旗易帜的邪路,坚定不移走中国特色社会主义道路,就一定能够把我国建设成为富强民主文明和谐美丽的社会主义现代化强国.

  • The next bit talks about sticking to the “path of peaceful development.” But it also says this: “do not depend on others, do not plunder others, and never claim hegemony” and “contribute wisdom and strength to the progress of human civilisation.”

  • Then it talks about the importance of pushing “forward reform, accurately recognising change and responding to it in a scientific way” and “never becoming rigid or stagnant.”

  • The next few paragraphs talk about maintaining a fighting spirit, unity and purity.

The piece ends with a call to unite more closely around the Party central committee with Xi as the core.

Next, we have a report about Party and government officials from around the country, studying and discussing the 6th plenum spirit. These are officials at senior levels in Party institutions, county secretaries  and provincial or municipal level government officials. Most of them praised the Central Committee for summarising history and drawing lessons; some talk about having firm ideals and pursuing the original aspiration; and two in specific are quoted about the importance of maintaining Xi’s position at the helm as the core.

Third, a commentary on the spirit of the Great Northern Wilderness, which emphasises entrepreneurship, dedication, hard work, keeping in mind the overall situation and selfless dedication.

Page 3: The page is dedicated to follow-up reports after the APEC summit. So, there is more than one report talking about China’s importance to the region and the positive reaction to Xi’s speech. Here’s Xi’s full speech in English.

Some of the key points he made were:

  • “To defeat the pandemic and restore growth at an early date is a first-order priority for APEC economies at the moment. We need to follow a science-based approach in pandemic response, deepen international cooperation, promote the research, development, production and fair distribution of vaccines, ensure their accessibility and affordability in developing countries, and close the immunization gap.”

  • “We need to uphold open regionalism, follow the guidance of the APEC Vision 2040 in advancing regional economic integration, and work for the early realization of a high-standard Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). We need to practice true multilateralism, stick to dialogue rather than confrontation, inclusiveness rather than exclusion, and integration rather than decoupling, and be resolute in safeguarding the multilateral trading regime with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core.”

  • “We need to implement the APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap in a full and balanced manner, and foster an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for innovation and the growth of productivity.” China has put forward Enhancing Implementation of APEC Connectivity Blueprint (2015-2025) in the Digital Era and has applied to join the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA).

  • He talked about China’s carbon peak and neutrality goals, adding “At this year’s UN General Assembly in September, I put forward a Global Development Initiative that aims at steering global development toward a new stage of balanced, coordinated and inclusive growth. The Initiative also holds great significance for sustainable development of the Asia-Pacific region.”

Next, we have a report on Wang meeting with ASEAN countries’ envoys in Beijing (English report). Wang said:

  • The two sides will soon jointly hold a summit commemorating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue relations between China and ASEAN countries. This will be a milestone meeting to chart the course for the development of bilateral relations in the next 30 years.

  • China will continue to provide vaccine support to ASEAN countries until the pandemic is completely defeated.

  • Both sides “have always placed the South China Sea issue in an appropriate position in the bilateral relations and promoted the deepening and development of bilateral cooperation.” -- I guess this is the model that Beijing wants with New Delhi when it talks about putting the boundary issue in its appropriate position.

  • He also talked about the need to “advance consultations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea on the basis of the comprehensive and effective implementation of the DOC.”

Page 4: First, an interesting report telling us that the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission has called on all relevant cadres under its remit to study and publicize the deeds of Comrade Pan Dongsheng. China Daily’s report tells me that Pan was the vice-mayor and head of the public security bureau of Fuzhou, Fujian province, who died in the line of duty on September 25 at the age of 57. Global Times reports that Pan died “due to working long hours and a sudden illness.” The report also says that “reports show that in the three days before Pan's death, he had participated in the city's epidemic prevention and control meeting on Wednesday, and had gone to hospitals to pay tribute to the first-line medical staff on Thursday.” 

This is really interesting. Pure speculation, of course, but it sounds like this could have been a COVID-related death.

Anyway, the notice from the CPLAC calls for using Pan’s deeds as material to “inspire and encourage” political and legal affairs officers and build spiritual strength. The notice calls to learn from Pan’s political character in terms of his firm belief and loyalty to the Party, his sense of public service, professionalism, honesty, incorruptibility, etc.

Next, there’s an article bylined 见山 - Jiàn shān. This is based on the concept of ‘non-self’ (无我). This was referenced in Xi Jinping-related propaganda last week. The article begins by telling us that a few years ago, there was a public service advertisement which read 我是谁 - Who Am I? This had become very popular at the time. It is through this lens that one could learn the stories of “conscientious and diligent” cadres. The piece says that this underscored the fact that it is not earth-shattering deeds that cadres must perform; rather they need to perform with “silent dedication.” It also says that cadres must think of the question “who am I?” and ponder over the I. 

The piece then says that Xi has in the past told young cadres to first address the issue of “who am I” and for whom do they exist and whom do they rely upon? He wants them to explore the spiritual dimension of being in a state of “non-self” or rather being selfless and devoted to the people and China’s development - 习近平总书记强调:“年轻干部无论是立身处世还是从政干事,首先要解决好‘我是谁、为了谁、依靠谁’的问题,不断追求‘我将无我,不负人民’的精神境界. The piece basically calls on cadres to have a sense of responsibility and mission. It argues that “non-self epitomises the political character of Communists loyal to the Party and the people.” “无我”集中体现了共产党人忠诚于党、忠诚于人民的政治品格. 

Page 9: On the theory page, the lead piece is by Liu Jianchao, Deputy Director of the Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Foreign Affairs Commission. He writes about the 50th anniversary of the PRC joining the UN. 

Liu argues that China joined the UN as a founding member and the UNSC as a permanent member “based on the fact that the Chinese people fought bloody battles, made great contributions and made great sacrifices for the victory” in WWII. But, it was the “accession of New China and other developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America” that the UN truly became “the most universal, representative and authoritative international organisation.” 中国成为联合国创始会员国和安理会常任理事国,是建立在中国人民为世界反法西斯战争胜利浴血奋战、作出重大贡献并付出巨大牺牲基础上的。新中国和其他广大亚非拉发展中国家的加入,使联合国真正成为最具普遍性、代表性、权威性的国际组织.

The next paragraph talks about the historic significance of the PRC joining the UN. Liu argues that this was a “great victory against hegemonism and power politics,” “a great victory for China and many developing countries,” and it revealed the “complete bankruptcy of the attempts by international anti-China forces to obstruct the restoration of the People’s Republic of China’s legitimate seat in the United Nations.” 

The PRC’s seat “changed the balance of power within the United Nations and enhanced the representation and voice of developing countries as a whole,” he argues. 

He adds: “China has always stood firmly with other developing countries, opposed hegemonism and power politics of all kinds, upheld international fairness and justice, and made the international order more just and equitable. Together with other member states, China has made unremitting efforts and important contributions to maintaining world peace and stability, promoting common prosperity and development, strengthening friendship and cooperation among countries and promoting human progress.” 回顾历史、展望未来,中国始终坚定同广大发展中国家站在一起,反对一切霸权主义和强权政治,捍卫国际公平正义,推动国际秩序朝着更加公正合理方向发展。中国始终同其他会员国一道,为维护世界和平稳定、促进共同繁荣发展、加强各国友好合作、促进人类进步事业作出不懈努力和重要贡献.

Liu then talks about the importance of the one-China principle. He says that “Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory.” Liu argues that “Resolution 2758 has resolved the issue of China's representation in the UN politically, legally and procedurally, and provided authoritative legal basis for the United Nations system and institutions to properly handle Taiwan-related issues.” Despite this, “some anti-China forces in the international community still sought to promote Taiwan’s so-called ‘return’ (重返 - chóng fǎn) or its ability to join/participate/or become a member (加入- jiārù) of the UN under various names. This farce ended in failure. Recently, some western politicians have hyped the so-called ‘Taiwan Province’s participation in the United Nations system’ and other international organizations, which seriously violates the one-China principle and the basic norms governing international relations. Taiwan Province’s participation in international organizations must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle. The United Nations system, specialised agencies and the United Nations Secretariat should abide by the one-China principle and United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 in all matters concerning Taiwan Province.” 联合国大会第2758号决议从政治上、法律上和程序上彻底解决了中国在联合国的代表权问题,为联合国系统及机构妥善处理涉台问题提供了权威法律依据。联合国大会第2758号决议通过后,国际上一些反华势力仍企图以各种名号推动台湾所谓“重返”和“加入”联合国,这些闹剧无不以失败告终。近来,西方一些政客炒作所谓“台湾参与联合国系统”及其他国际组织问题,这严重违反一个中国原则和国际关系基本准则。台湾地区参与国际组织活动必须按照一个中国原则处理。联合国系统、各专门机构和联合国秘书处任何涉及台湾的事务,均应遵循一个中国原则和联合国大会第2758号决议.

Liu then talks about how China has been advocating peaceful resolution of hotspot issues. He says that China “firmly opposes the wilful use or threat of force in international affairs, as well as the pressure of sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction.” Then, Liu takes a shot at US policy over the past 20 odd years, I guess. 

“History has proved time and again that political systems and development models that are divorced from national conditions, run counter to the will of the people, and are imposed or copied from outside cannot win the support of the people and will eventually fail. Only respecting the development path independently chosen by the people of all countries is the right path for mankind.” 历史一再证明,脱离国情、违背民意、由外部强加或复制移植的政治制度和发展模式得不到这个国家人民的支持,终将以失败收场,只有尊重各国人民自主选择的发展道路才是人间正道。

He writes that China has actively participated in hotspot issues like the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear issue, Afghanistan, Syria, etc. He also says that China “has always adhered to the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, advocated the peaceful settlement of international disputes, constantly explored and practiced solutions with Chinese characteristics, and made important contributions to the maintenance of international peace and security.” 回顾历史、展望未来,中国始终坚持共同、综合、合作、可持续的安全观,倡导以和平方式化解国际争端,不断探索和实践具有中国特色的解决问题之道,为维护国际和平与安全作出重要贡献.

The next paragraph deals with China’s support for the global development agenda. This is followed by a paragraph talking up China’s human rights record and engagement. “China is firmly opposed to the politicisation of human rights and interference in internal affairs under the pretext of human rights. China has repeatedly thwarted anti-China actions by some Western countries at multilateral human rights forums, and it has proactively put forward Chinese initiatives and insisted on speaking up for developing countries.” 中国坚决反对人权政治化和借人权干涉内政,在多边人权平台连续挫败西方一些国家的反华行动,积极主动提出中国倡议,坚持为发展中国家仗义执言.

Liu then argues that China “stands for firmly upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter,” but “in practice, the role of the UN is sometimes obstructed by unilateralism, hegemonism and power politics.” Liu positions China as a defender and upholder of the UN-centered international order, and argues that in contrast:

“The so-called ‘rules-based international order’ advocated by a few countries is in essence an attempt to uphold a ‘clique (小集团-xiǎo jítuán) order’ led by them and ‘clique rules’ that they set, hollowing out the institutional power of the UN Member States, especially the developing countries, to participate in global governance and causing serious damage to the effectiveness and authority of the UN.” 少数国家鼓吹所谓“基于规则的国际秩序”,实质上是企图维护其主导的“小集团秩序”、奉行其制定的“小圈子规则”,架空联合国会员国特别是广大发展中国家参与全球治理的制度性权力,对联合国的效能和权威造成严重损害.

The final paragraph talks about the vision of a community of common destiny. Here Liu tips his hat and genuflects before Xi. 

“General Secretary Xi Jinping, with his insight into the future destiny of mankind and the development trend of the times, has put forward the important concept of building a community of human destiny, establishing a lofty goal for China’s external work, opening up a new horizon for the development of the theory and practice of multilateralism, and providing a direction and fundamental guidelines for China’s cooperation with the United Nations in the new era.” 习近平总书记洞悉人类前途命运和时代发展趋势,提出构建人类命运共同体重要理念,确立了我国对外工作的崇高目标,为多边主义理论和实践发展开辟了新境界,为新时代中国同联合国的合作指明前行方向、提供根本遵循.

Other Stories:

The Cyberspace Administration of China on Sunday issued a set of draft management regulations on protecting internet data security to solicit opinion from the public. Xinhua reports that “data will be classified as common, important, and core on account of its importance to national security, public interests, as well as the legitimate rights and interests of relevant individuals or organizations…different protection measures based on the classifications will be imposed.”

This thread by Henry Gao is really helpful in understanding the draft: